Malayalam News

Cinematographer MJ Radhakrishnan Dies At 61

Cinematographer MJ Radhakrishnan died of cardiac arrest at the age of 61 in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. He was reportedly admitted to a private hospital where he was undergoing treatment.


The acclaimed cinematographer mostly worked on Malayalam films, and won the Kerala State Award seven times. He is best known for the films DeshadanamKarunam and Naalu Pennungal.

He was born in Punalur in Kollam district, and started his career as a still photographer. Later, he moved to Thiruvananthapuram and worked with cinematographer-director Shaji N Karun on his movies. His first film as a cinematographer was Maamalakalkkapurathu, directed by Ali Akbar, which was released in 1988.

In his career of four decades he worked on 75 feature films and several documentaries, and regularly worked with Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Murali Nair, TV Chandran, Dr Biju, Jayaraj and Renjith. He was also known for collaborating with many young Malayalam film directors on their maiden films.

Radhakrishnan won the state awards for Deshadanam (1996), Karunam (1999), Adayalangal (2007), Bioscope (2008), Veetilekkulla Vazhi (2010), Akashathinte Niram (2011) and Kaadu Pookunna Neram (2016). His films also won awards at international festivals. Marana Simhasanam won him the Golden Camera Award in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Festival of 1999. Bioscope was recognised at the South Asian International Film Festival, and Papilio Buddha at the Oaxaca Film Festival.

His last films were Shaji’s Olu, starring Kanu Kasruti, Shane Nigam and Indras, and Dr Biju’s Veyil Marangal, that just won the Outstanding Artsitic Achievement Award at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Radhakrishnan is survived by his wife Sreelatha, son Yadu, who is also a cinematographer, and daughter Neeraja.

Many from the film industry tweeted condolences. Chief Minister Pinrayi Vijayan also offered condolences to his family and recalled his contribution to Malayalam cinema.

Director Murali Nair, who worked with Radhakrisnan on Marana Simhasam, said he was shocked by his untimely death.

Filmmaker Leena Manimakalai shared a working still from her film Sendagal, and said, “You made Indian cinema shine with your signature and mentored many indies like me with patience.”

Cinematographer Santosh Sivan, sound designer Resul Pookutty and director Sanjeev Sivan condoled his death.

Image Courtesy: The Hindu